When living abroad, it’s tempting for Americans to be drawn to nearly anything written or presented in English.
I find myself flipping channels and stopping on the one that has an American comedy with the actors delivering their own lines–no voiceovers, or even subtitles for that matter.
Likewise, when I see an English-language magazine at the store I quickly scoop it up, leaving behind all the local options and often paying double or more what I would in the States.
But whether you’re planning on living in France for 6 months, 6 years, or a whole lot longer, part of the experience simply must be learning the language.
Without the ability to speak French, you’ll only learn about French culture and become part of your local community on a surface level.
As your language skills advance, you’ll make new friends, gain the confidence to explore, and be able to enjoy all the delightful things happening in the world around you.
If you’re looking for some fun and easy ways to practice your French skills, check this out :
Helpful tips to practice French
1) Schedule a Weekly Culture Day
There are lots of ways to enjoy French culture, no matter what part of the country you call home. Make a point of scheduling one day or afternoon each week to visit a cultural attraction, such as a museum, art gallery, or even a tourist destination. When visiting a museum, purchase the audio tour in French, moving through the exhibits at your own pace and carefully listening to the presentation. Plan your trip to a gallery during a time when they offer docent-led discussions and events. View the work and hear a presentation or tour to learn more about the artwork and to expand your language skills. Visit the many tourist hot spots and sign up for a local-led tour to get the inside scoop on these popular attractions–in French, of course.
2) Go Out to Eat
What better place to work on your French than in a restaurant? Practice your reading skills by studying the menu in detail. Put your speaking skills to use by striking up a friendly conversation with the server. And don’t forget to hone those listening skills by eavesdropping on the chatty diners all around you! Be sure to bring a pocket dictionary or your smartphone so you can look up unknown words on the menu, and make a point of asking a few questions instead of just ordering the one dish you do know by name. (If you need a little inspiration, check out this blog post to get some tips on finding low-cost dining options in Paris.)
3) Pursue Your Hobby–In French
No matter what your hobby is, there are lots of resources to help you grow your skills or have even more fun with it. Try tapping into those resources that are available in French. If you love cooking, for example, buy a French cookbook and make it your goal to prepare one dish from it each week. If you’re an active scrapbooker, purchase a few scrapbooking magazines in French and study the methods and tutorials that are listed before attempting the new techniques for yourself.
We all know that learning a new language, whether it’s your second or your fifth, is a labor of love that takes both dedication and persistence. I
t’s never to late to mix up your learning style by trying one of the things recommended above, enrolling in classes, or just striking up a conversation with your neighbor!
And if you’re interested in testing your French skills, we invite you to check out the Language Trainers’ FREE language level test.
If you’ve got other fun language practice tips please share them with us in the comments below!